Monday 15 June 2009


Basking under the warm glow of the Iberian sunshine, the General Chapter met in the historic setting of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal in the beautiful Cadaval Palace - the ancestral home of the dukes of Cadaval and home now to the Grand Master and his most charming and gracious wife, Princess Diana Álvares Pereira de Melo, Duchess of Cadaval and Duchess of Anjou.

While the sunshine warmed our corporeal presence, the companionship of the members warmed our hearts and souls as we broke bread with friends both new and old in the pretty Patio of the Palace as well as the grand setting of the marquee for the final dinner.

At Mass in the romantic 13th century Cathedral, presided over with great aplomb by His Eminence Laszló Cardinal Paskai, twenty six candidates processed with the members through the streets and made their solemn promise to commit themselves to the Order and its great work of Charity throughout the world. Our Grand Master, HRH Prince Charles-Philippe d’Orléans, Duc d’Anjou, made this work of Charity the centre-piece of his message for the week, encouraging all members to give themselves wholeheartedly and without stint to that noble cause. He reminded us that every member must play an active part for we are not simply members of an exclusive club but rather Christians who are called to the noble work of Charity within the Order and so no-one can leave that work to others.

The more prosaic and yet necessary work of meetings to organise and promote how the Order goes about that great work of Charity were also part of the week as were the excellent workshops on the nature and functioning of the Order - its history and spirituality.

Fr Simon Henry, SChLJ

Chaplain General